Notes & Links from the HomeSchool Live

I so enjoyed talking with you and sharing a little bit about our homeschooling in our Facebook Live yesterday. We are happy to be finished with one school year (Mama and kiddos are tired, lol), but I’m also really excited to plan the next. I tried to include links to the things mentioned in the video. I’ll update it throughout the week as I have time.

Things We Discussed in the HomeSchool LIVE:

Filing HomeSchool Stuff

  • Completed work – we use a wall file (Each child has their own pocket where they file their work.)
    At the beginning of each month, I try to sort through it. That’s the goal anyway so that it doesn’t get too
    overwhelming.
  • Portfolios – I use document boxes (well, similar ones that I saved from when we ordered our nice planner covers)
    to keep up with work we want to save.
  • What we keep and What we dont – I don’t keep random worksheets or math pages. I only keep really cute crafts,
    some handwriting samples, projects that are easy to save, or our favorite art. I do keep all of their Writing Workshop, all of their Bible Work because it’s kind of like a journal of what they’re learning and how they apply it to their every day lives, and I love that to have and keep. I don’t save random workbooks. I’d only save a unit study if it was really cute.
  • Records – My lesson planners are my best records that I keep. There’s no doubt that we ever did school when you take a look at those.
  • Long-term Filing – I have two big square fabric bins in our homeschool cabinet. It holds binders of work from previous years, notebooks of work portfolios, and even “out of season” curriculum. It’s hidden storage because it’s not pretty storage,  but maybe one day I’ll get around to re-organizing those and probably doing a big purge as well.
  • Easy-Access Filing – I have a magazine file turned on it’s side on our shelf. It holds things that we need for our curriculum some days and in future lessons… things like “sight word cards” I’ve printed but not yet cut because we don’t need them yet, timelines pieces for our history, curriciulm I printed myself and havent put in student books yet, things like that…

How I Plan Each Week

  • Future LIVE video on this topic – It will be so much easier to show you because every curriculum is different.
  • Advance Planning – For some subjects, I plan them weeks in advance – Science, History, Bible, Read-Alouds because those things take prep work. Things need to be added to my shopping list or ordered sometimes, so I need advance time to be ready for them. They aren’t open and go subjects, at least not with the curriculum we are using.
  • Interval Planning – We plan our calendar six weeks of work and one week break. This gives us regular breaks throughout the year. It also helps me to do this advance planning during that break or prep week, whatever you’d like to call it. I can also use themes in my planning this way.
    **I’ll add my Interval Planner to my shop so you can use it too.
  • We do the next thing – When I’m planning our weekly lessons of our “skill-based subjects” (Math, Reading, Phonics, Spelling, Grammar, Writing, etc.), we just do the next lesson listed so planning is fairly simple. I do look through my lessons list for each curriculum to make sure we’re “on track” with where we need to be. But that’s the extent of the planning portion.

Free Resources We Use

Balancing Our Day Between Different Grade Levels

  • We try to do school when the toddler is napping. That works best.
  • If the toddler is awake and with us, I have to be okay with some messes… like pulling all the books off the shelf or supplies out of the drawer. As long as he’s not destroying anything or hurting himself, I can always clean up a little mess later.
  • Give the toddler something to do! We LOVE LovEvery Play Kits. Lyndon has the Pioneer Kit and the Babbler Kit.
  • Work with the Little Ones first. Usually after they get their one on one attention with you, you can easily set them up with a simple activity in the next room and they’ll be good.
    **Listen. I know this can be hard. All my kids are still pretty little too. You are a capable mama. You can overcome any of these obstacles if you decide it’s important enough. I’m personally terrible at multi-tasking so it took some training on my part to get my kids to be okay with playing independently. It’s an important skill for them too.
  • Keep all of your kids together. We all sit at the same table so I can keep an eye on each one of them and help as needed. One day, the goal is that I would be able to leave and switch out a load of laundry or something while they continue to work and stay on task, but we’re not there yet. I have to stay right with them during school time so that we can get done what we need to and I’m there to help them.
  • Encourage independent work. My oldest is finishing second grade. This year, I wrote his daily assignments on the board for him and let him work on his own. I checked his work, helped with only what he needed, but he mostly worked on his own. The idea is that we teach our kids how to learn for themselves… not just to be fed information. (Hmm… that could apply to another area of life, couldn’t it? Yes. That’s why we teach our kids to read. We want them to be able to read the Bible and learn from that. It’s the whole foundation of this homeschool stuff.)
  • Learning Centers – We’re going to try a homeschool version of this next year I think… Computer Work, Table Work, and Activities… more on this later 😉

Our Favorite Home School Tools & Resources…

This is a list from a previous post that I updated a little bit. I added some thing we discussed in the video in case you’re in search of something similar. This is not an exhaustive list. I’ll add to it more as we plan for the next school year.

  1.  My Purposeful Planning HomeSchool Lesson Planner
  2.  My Favorite Disc-Bound Planner Cover (We splurged on this one a little, but you know I waited for a sale too!)
  3.  Disk-Bound Planner Covers the Kids Have Now (We were on the search for covers that would last multiple years and look more masculine for my boys.)
    *I’ll post more affordable options from Amazon at the bottom of this post.
  4.  Our Pencil Sharpener
  5.  Our Favorite Pencils
  6. Frixion Erasable Colored Pens
  7. Frixion Erasable Colored Highlighters
  8. Erasable Colored Pencils
  9. Our “New” Favorite Watercolors
  10. Disc-bound Covers (We use these with our printable curriculum.)
  11. Metal Discs (We use these with our printable curriculum.)
    **I like this option better than bulky binders or having the pages bound because the spirals always seemed to come undone throughout the year which would drive me nuts. This way we have the customizable flexibility of a binder by easily being able to take pages in and out and also the ability to flip it around like a spiral-bound book. It’s the best of both worlds, in my opinion.
  12. Laminator
  13. Dry Erase Markers
  14. Wet Erase Markers
  15. Printer
  16. Label Maker
  17. ESV Children’s Bible
  18. 365 Great Bible Stories
  19. 66 Books One Story
  20. Window on the World
  21. Large Notebook (We use this for note-taking in our group subjects or in anything we’d use a chalk or white board for, except we get to keep it and refer back to it if we need to.)
  22. Spelling Power Student Record Book (This has been a game changer for our spelling lessons this year!)
  23. The Homeschool History Book of Centuries
  24. Rand McNally Historical Atlas of the World
  25. The Student Bible Atlas
  26. Amazon Kindle Fire Tablets
  27. Wooden Easel (We originally purchased this for Typing, but we use it for so much more than that actually! I love to display a book we’ll be reading or something fun like that.)
  28. Jelly Telly App
  29. Teaching from Rest Book
  30. The Same Page Podcast (Great for car rides with your kids- even for non-homeschoolers!)
  31. Your Morning Basket Podcast
  32. The Homeschool Solutions Show Podcast
  33. The Homeschool Sanity Show
  34. Raising Arrows Podcast
  35. Wall File – Great for Completed Work!
  36. Document Boxes – Great for portfolios!
  37. Magazine File – Great for loose curriculum, prepped pages and activities, etc.

 

Our Favorite Home School & Educational Resources

As promised, here is my list of favorite Home School Games, Arts n Crafts, and Books. Of course, these could definitely be used for non-home-schoolers as well. It’s just a short list of educational and fun things to do at home with your little ones. Try to enjoy this time of rest and enjoyment with your family!


*This post does contain my affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I do thank you for your support in this way though.

Games

My First BananaGrams
Sum Swamp
Sight Word Swat
Scrabble Junior

Arts n Crafts

Alex Kits: My Giant Busy Box
Toddler Box
Watercolors Set
Similar Paint Pen Set to the My First Crayola Paint Brush I Shared
Oil Pastels
Chunkies Paint Sticks

Books

Julia Rothman Collection of Nature Anatomy, Food Anatomy, and Farm Anatomy
Christian Liberty Nature Reader
Beautiful Stories for Children
Who HQ Book Collection


  




My Purposeful Planning Workbook & 2020 Planner

*If you’ve found this page, by clicking a link in my email – rest assured – you are on the list and you’ll be one of the first to know when it becomes available to you!

Do you want to live a life full of purpose?!
You can plan a life full of purpose… one day at a time.
I’ve created the perfect planner to help you do that!


This is the Planner to Help you Plan your Purposeful Life.

Features…

  • Disk-Bound System that makes it so easy to customize your planner according to YOUR needs
  • Worksheets to help you evaluate your life right now and determine where you want to go
  • Goal-setting process to help you take your big picture ideas and break them down into bite size chunks month by month and day by day
  • Habit Trackers, Monthly, & Perpetual Calendars
  • Extremely versatile Daily Pages that can work for anyone!

    The first batch of these planners will be available in a *very limited quantity* for pre-order very soon. I’ve just got to get it back from the printer, assemble it, and do any final edits that might be needed. 

2019 Christmas Gift Guide

Hey, friends! I know Christmas can be a stressful time… I want you to know that it’s okay to not give gifts to everyone on your list if it means spending outside your budget. Pay your bills. Feed your family. Prioritize your list of people to buy gifts for. But if you have a budget set, and you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone, I really had a fun time putting this gift guide together. Let me know what categories you would add to the list! I hope you enjoy this holiday season and have fun shopping, finding good deals, and have sweet moments giving to others. It can be such a special time with family and friends!

And if you missed my Kids Gift Guide, you can find it here. I’ve added a few items to it since I originally published it. 


**This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

For the Coffee Lover

Let me just tell you that since buying the Nespresso for our home, we have become such “coffee snobs”, and it is hard to drink regular coffee. I even love it better than ordering coffee out now, and that’s saying something! If you want an amazing coffee experience at home, Nespresso is the way to go! The pods are a bit pricier than regular K-cups or coffee grounds, but once you’ve tasted the Nespresso difference, I promise you, it will be worth the price! I have begun making all my friends “Nespresso-believers”, aka “Coffee Snobs” one by one.

What’s amazing about the Nespresso is that it adds in that layer of creamy froth as it pushes the air through your coffee pod, and it begins pouring into your cup within 30 seconds so it’s also super efficient!

If you are partial towards “Regular Coffee Makers” and want to save money on the coffee pods and buy regular coffee grounds or beans that you grind yourself, I recommend the Bunn. Bunn is always a great option because you want to duplicate that “coffee shop aroma” as much as you possible can each morning at home as you make your coffee, right? It’s all about the Experience!

If you want a simple upgrade to your coffee experience, try a milk-frother! There are lots of great options out there, but this one makes a great stocking stuffer! It’s the one I have and use everyday, and I love that it has a travel case because it definitely comes with me when I travel! I’ve been frothing my coffee for YEARS now, and it’s another thing I can’t go back on. Frothed coffee, for me, is a must!

You can continue to buy all the cute mugs if you want to, but if you want to eliminate all that clutter and find one mug that feels fancy every time, go with a glass – double wall mug. This just seemed like a necessary purchase after I got my Nespresso because I love to see those creamy layers that you can’t duplicate with a regular cup of coffee. Make sure you get a mug a little bigger than the amount listed on the pod to allow room for that lovely crema or any frothed creamer you plan to add.

I also think, if you’re going to get the Nespresso, you need a nice set of Espresso-size mugs as well. A friend gave me these, and I absolutely love them! It just feels a little funny if you make a 1.7oz shot of Espresso in a big ole mug, so these are necessary for your Espresso shots, which I like to make to pour over a bowl of ice cream. Yum!

If you know a Nespresso-lover, gifting them with their favorite Nespresso pods is a great idea! They’ve already fallen in love with them, can’t go back to regular coffee, and they will appreciate you getting something you know they’ll love! My favorites are the Alto Pods (because they make 14 oz of coffee!) and the Best-Seller pack that offers a few different intensities for regular-size cups of coffee.

If you’re looking for an easy gift for a coffee lover, you can’t go wrong with a coffee shop gift card! This makes a great stocking stuffer or gift in general. Everyone has those days where you just need to run through on your work break and go get yourself a treat. And let me just tell you that there have been quite a few occasions where I’ve needed a change of scenery as a stay-at-home-mom, so I load up the kids, we sing in the car, grab a coffee for mama, and come right back home with refreshed attitudes and moods. Works like a charm, most days! 😉

For the Loaded Tea Lover

This is the latest craze in nutritious “fast food” although they are becoming so popular so they aren’t always as fast as we’d like. 😀 I got hooked on this teas and shakes like everyone else, but then quickly realized these could be made so much cheaper and pretty easily at home!

My mom is an Herbalife Distributor, which is where these “Loaded Tea and Shake” Ingredients come from, so she gave me the hookup and helped me order. She’d be glad to help you too, and you can save money in the long run if “Loaded Teas and Shakes” have become your newest addiction. You can easily google or look for the recipes for your favorite Teas & Shakes and order the needed ingredients on her distributor site!

I use my Ninja system for this every time because I love that I can just blend up a “single size” for myself and not have to use the big blender. This system is also great because it’s a single blender, full-size blender, and food processor/mixer all in one! I love products that have multiple uses like this one!

The Blend-Tec is another blender people sweat by! I don’t have personal experience with it, but it’s the one you see them all use in the Nutrition shops. It always goes on sale on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, so be watching for that if it’s something you’re interested in!

My mom bought me an insulated, drink holder for my teas, and I love it! You can use it on the store-bought drinks or for the ones you make at home, and I love that it has a handle I can slide my hand in and carry more things when I’m out and about.

 

For the “Plant Lady”

Okay, so I’ll admit that I’m still just a “Plant Lady Wannabe”, and I’m still learning how to keep plants alive.
Children??I’ve managed to keep four alive, but plants are another story. I’m still trying though, and in my defense – the home we are living in now has no windows so the circumstances are a little more difficult. I’ve had one here for several months, and it is still going strong so I’m still hopeful for others to do well too. If all else fails, there are some really nice faux plants out there now I’ll have to try.

Nice, pretty watering cans to sit on your shelf for “Water Wednesday”. Sorry, I saw the elephant one and had to include it too… I have a thing for baby elephants.

Macrame plant hangers – how fun?!

Pretty planters & pots – I think using a plant pot as a basket to fill with goodies and small gifts would be a great gift idea for a plant lover! Succulent sets, growing kits, and did you know you could buy actual LIVE plants on Amazon?! Yep, I just learned that not too long ago too! The Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant and the Snake Plant are the “trending” plants these days, second to succulents and cacti. I think they are fairly easy to keep alive (maybe!), but I like the idea of buying a well-established 4 ft. Fiddle Leaf Fig versus a baby one.

And if you still need help as a plant-lover, you can pre-order Lua, the Smart Planter with Feelings. I have a feeling if I ordered these, I’d be surrounded with a bunch of sad faces. Hahaha! We don’t need all that negativity around here, but if you’re confident you can keep your plants happy or at least learn how to, go for it!

 

For The One Who Loves to Clean

Scratch that! Okay, I know there are actually people in the world that like to clean. But I would say that for the majority of us – it’s not that we like to clean, but we do like to have a clean home, and we get excited by fun, cleaning gadgets and supplies. Am I right? Okay, now that we’ve addressed that. Let’s get on to the list.

We’ve got a Roomba, because I’m sure anyone would love a Roomba, am I right? My kids even wanted me to get a Roomba… I think we had them at “Robot”. Then, there’s a carpet steamer… because kids = messes. So… necessary. Ecloths are great cleaning cloths that use only water to clean. But if you like to have special cleaning products, here’s a clean line for you… Branch Basics Starter Kit.

 

For the Homemaker

When I think about a “homemaker”, I think about someone who is working to make a “home” for her loved ones. It’s not just a house that we live in – but it’s setting up that cozy environment, that safe place that our spouses, children, family members, and friends can come into and relax, unwind, and feel at peace. Your home should be a place that you feel the most peaceful, and we have to work hard to create that cozy, homey atmosphere.

Scents and fragrance helps. Try an Essential Oils Diffuser & Oils. Don’t waste your time with store-bought oils. Invest in a starter kit if you’re new to oils.

Turkish towels are so beautiful when they are hung. If there’s something you’re going to be using everyday, it might as well be something beautiful that can act as decor for your home as well!  You can do this with so many things! Little by little, you can replace your everyday, household items with quality ones that are beautiful to you and make you excited to use them. If they excite you, chances are, they will also bring joy to your other family members or visiting friends as well. Start thinking about those every day items like mixing bowls or a nice wooden cutting board.

Have you heard of Woven Nook? They offer pillow cover sets that are already coordinated and matched up. (You can order singles as well.) But aren’t these coordinated sets amazing?!

You can’t go wrong with a Target Gift Card or maybe a gift card to Wayfair. I told my family, they could get me anything from the Hearth & Hand line at Target, and I’d be happy. 😉

 

For the Makeup Lover

These are my favorite palettes and skincare that would make great gifts! I love thinking of makeup as an art, and while I’m certainly no professional – it sure is fun to “paint my face”. I love these makeup organizers, and I have one similar. I mean – how genius is that vertical palette storage?! I also have the makeup travel case, and I love it for going on trips! If you don’t know what to get a make-up lover, you can’t go wrong with a Sephora or Ulta giftcard.

 

For the Organizer

Everyone loves to have a nice, organized and lovely space, right?! I love these drawer organizers from Ikea, these space-saving kitchen utensil organizers, and velvet hangers. Velvet hangers are such a simple upgrade, but they really make your closets look so nice! We’ve upgraded all of our closets to these, including the kids, and I couldn’t love it any more!

Also, I think this is a great time of year to be thinking about cubbies and shelves and toy organization because our kids are about to get an influx of them in the coming month. Having something great to organize it all is a must!

If you have an organizer you are gifting for, you could do a giftcard to Ikea, The Container Store, or I’m currently in love with Wayfair. I’m also going to add Hobby Lobby gift card to this because my absolute FAVORITE furniture piece is from there. It’s the one with ALL the drawers, and I love it so much! It is GREAT for organization!

For the Reader

For the reader in your life, you could gift them with a tin of book darts. Book darts are little page markers that a reader can use to note something they want to come back to. They are also good for future common-placing. This is when a reader adds those notable things to a special notebook, also known as a Commonplace Book, and I’ve got some of these shown here too. I like to use my Frixion Highlighters to highlight as I’m reading something good. I’ve also included a set of magnetic bookmarks and a reading light.

If you’re unsure what to get the reader in your life, go for a Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, or even an Amazon gift card so they can order more and more books. Or a nice bookshelf would also make a fabulous gift for a reader. You can never have too many bookshelves…

For the Christian who Loves Spiritual Resources

I love my journaling Bible like the one I’ve included here, and this version is such a nice gift edition. It’s a great investment into someone’s Christian walk. The Filament Bible is a pretty cool resource I’ve started seeing lately too that offers a digital app component with commentaries and other resources included! Bible journaling pens are a must for note-taking and doodles in your Bible.

If you’re looking for a good Bible study to gift, the Journal and Doodle Bible Studies from Kari Denker are my favorite. I feel like these really helped me to learn the skill of Bible Study, and the same with Kristy Camrbon’s Verse-Mapping resources. Phenomenal Tools!

I’ve included a few other commentaries and resources as well as a great devotional.

I love my Val Marie Paper Co. Prayer Journal! There’s also the Quiet Time Companion and The Give Me Jesus Journal that I feel like would make fantastic gifts as well.

 

 

   
   

 

For the Planner Girl

For the bullet journaling planner, these Moleskine Volant books are my favorites! The 5×8″ size is perfect because it gives you enough room to write and take notes, but it’s also small enough to fit in your purse. I also really love May Books. These are great because they already have the calendars, checklists, whatever you need already in the books for you. You can get them in the same size and mix and match them together. I add these to my Traveler’s Notebook covers. My favorite is my really nice leather one from Foxy Fix.

I really love Traveler’s Notebooks because they feel so nice and fancy, but I would have to say that a disk-bound planner is my ALL TIME MOST FAVORITE PLANNER… because the customizability of it is just fantastic! I love that I can take things out, add things in, shift things around, even print my own pages to add to my planner so easily! They are like a spiral bound book that you can open up flat or turn it inside out to write and take notes in as well. I’ve included my newest disk-bound planner cover here. It charges your phone. Say what?! I’m serious! I’ve never seen a planner cover that can do so much like this one. It even has pockets and a pen loop inside!

**Psst. If you haven’t already heard, I’ve just created a disk-bound planner of my very own for My Purposeful Planning. It has SO MANY GREAT features! Make sure you’re on my email list to get more details about its release. 

I added my favorite Pilot FriXion Clicker Pens here. I love the color-coding I can do with these, and they are ERASABLE! Like they really erase very well, and they are pretty much the only pens I use nowadays. I’ve also included planner clips. I love the decorated “paper clip” style ones because they lay flat, don’t bend your planner pages, and they stick out from the top of your planner so you can easily find today’s planning page.

And… of course I have to include Power Sheets in my “Planner” section. I LOVE my new Power Sheets Goal Planner. It would make a fantastic gift, as well as many of the other items on their website like their Write the Word Journals.

Wishing you happy shopping, great deals, and sweet moments of giving to those you love this Christmas!
Merry Christmas, friends!

2019 Christmas Gift Guide (for Kids!)

Usually my Christmas posts tell you about what we do for Christmashow we keep it minimal, our family traditions like Advent, how we budget for the holidays, and even the gifts we get for our kids. This year, we have decided to give our kids an “experience gift” so all of our gifts for them will focus around a specific theme. We want it to be a really fun surprise so we’re keeping that theme a secret until after they open up their gifts on Christmas morning.

But for now… I’ve had several family members begin to ask about ideas for Christmas for our little ones or friends ask for recommendations for their kids so I thought it would be helpful to put together a little Kids’ Christmas Gift Guide.

**This post does contain affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of these links, I will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. 

But first, maybe you’d like a recap of last year’s gifts?? Aren’t you always curious to see which ones were hits and which ones were tossed in the corner a week later? I know, I am!

Here’s a Recap of What we Gave our Kids for Christmas Last Year:


 

  • Paw Patrol Ultimate Rescuer – This one was played with for a few months until we moved into our now minimal space. It has remained in storage since then and hasn’t been asked for.
  • Guess Who Game – We love games, and this one was a favorite, but it got destroyed by one of our little ones and so we had to throw it away.
  • Scrabble Junior Game – We began to lose pieces to this one, and since it’s one where you have to match up all of the letters to the letters on the board, they are necessary. This game is still played despite that, and I’m wondering if I could find a set of replacement letter tiles for it or if we could use regular scrabble tiles with it instead.
  • Checkers Game – We lost pieces and threw this one out. Apparently, we need to be more strict with our games as parents.
  • Drone – This was loved for a week or two and then lost at our old house and never found. (Lawson got another one for his birthday in June, and he played with it for a week and  then lost interest.)
  • Ikea Kitchen – This one is still loved and played with, not every day, but pretty often. I love it because it’s very neutral and instead of being like a toy, it goes with the decor of our home. Baby Lyndon is starting to pull up to it now.
  • LovEvery Baby Play Mat – We LOVED this play-mat and all of the things that came with it! Lyndon now crawls away from it because he’s extremely mobile, but he does play with all of the toys from it, and I need to set up the tent with it to see if that sparks his interest. My older kids loved using the play guides with him to teach him different skills at different ages.
  • Play-Doh Tubs – This was a hit and always is. It just about lasted all year, as I’m that mom who only lets them get one tub each out at a time so it works. (We keep three current tubs in our everyday play-doh storage with our tools, and the rest are stored out of reach.) This one will go on the list again this year.
  • Magnetic Building Set – These are by far the best toy we’ve ever owned! This was our second set to purchase for our kiddos last Christmas, and we even bought Linkin more for his birthday in May. They are so versatile and he plays with them in so many different ways.
  • Wooden Play-Doh Tools – I can’t remember if someone gifted my kids with this set, or if it was a last-minute add on gift from us last year, but they’ve been a hit. I’m not a big fan of the plastic play-doh sets that make spaghetti and the playdoh gets stuck in them and dries out… These, though, are fantastic!

Nativity Sets and “Elf on the Shelf” Alternatives

I personally love the idea of having a kid-friendly nativity scene available at Christmas for your kids to see and learn the true meaning of Christmas. I saw a family that had a separate nativity for each of their children that they could set up and play with themselves, and I thought that was a really neat idea. We personally have the Melissa and Doug Wooden set.

I also really like the Christian alternatives to “Elf on the Shelf”. If you do Elf on the Shelf with your kids, I’m in no way saying that’s a bad thing, but it just wouldn’t work for our family since we’ve never done Santa. I like that there are now different alternative options as well.


Now… on to the 2019 Christmas Gift Guide for Kids…

Baby and Young Toddler Gift Ideas

  • This ball tower was such a big hit with my kids. I think ours finally broke after we had it for several years, but it’s one toy I would buy again because of how much it entertained my little ones.
  • Layten has the piggy bank, and it is such a fun toy!
  • We’ve had a plastic set of the kids’ bar bell, and it was great to teach Lawson how to do simple and complex lifts before he was ready to move on to real weights.
  • Lyndon is into balls right now, so that’s probably going to be what he gets from everyone this year.
  • This Stella doll was a great first-baby doll for Layten. It’s so sweet and would be perfect for any little girl. They have LOTS of different options now!

 


Educational Toys

Wooden School Blocks

When I say, “school blocks”, I’m referring to the really well-made, thick blocks we played with in preschool and kindergarten. I actually remember being hit in the eye with one of the really big ones in preschool, and yet I STILL want a good set for my kiddos. I just love these as open-ended toys where my kids can build and use their imaginations in creative ways! I’m a fan of the natural-look versus the painted sets, but I’m sure they will end up with crayon marks on them at some point too. I’ve included a few sets here, a budget-friendly set, a more valuable set, and an architectural set.

Grimms’ Stackers

Apparently these are the hit toys for minimalists. They “spark joy” because they sit pretty on a shelf, but kids also love them because they are so unique, and they can be really creative and imaginative in how they build with them. They’ve been on my wish list for several years probably, but they are crazy expensive so I haven’t ever justified purchasing them. I would love to get a set just to see what all the fuss is about, and if you’re wondering… the large rainbow stacker seems to be the top favorite among these sets.

Art Supplies

I feel like art supplies are a hit among most children, but be sure to make sure the parents are also on board with this one because art supplies tend to bring a mess along with them.

  • I’ve heard great things about the Chunkies paint sticks.
  • Layten got the Alex Art Kit – “Tots Art Start” for her birthday last year, and it was a big hit! It was perfect for her as a toddler then because there was no glue or anything too messy with it. There was sticky paper for her to easily attach the craft supplies to, stickers, and child-size crayons. The boys were jealous because since it was her gift, I didn’t let them play with it.
  • Sketch books for painting and drawing are always necessary.
  • Chalk pastels are something my kids and I have really come to enjoy this year.
  • These watercolors are so much better than the cheapy ones we’ve used in the past. I thought all watercolors were created equal, but let me tell you – they are not. These are worth the few extra dollars, and they include more colors too. We have one now, but my kids share. I might invest in a few more of these pallets.
  • I wanted to include water color pencils because they are pretty neat. Kids use them to draw the picture they are wanting to paint, and then they just use water over them to make the colors blend and come alive like watercolor paints.
  • And Scotch tape, of course… A roll of this for each kid’s stocking – what kid doesn’t love Scotch tape?!

Technology

Technology is so important these days, and of course kids love it! I like the idea of educational technology and games because it gives kids a way to use it but not get sucked into the tunnel vision of “screen time” and watching all the meaningless shows (but hey! That has it’s time a place too. Kids also need time to relax and chill.)

  • Lawson had one of these watches, and we loved it until the band of it broke. They now come with replacement bands so make sure yours has that extra band if you order. They have games to get kids moving with a timer, and my boys always took that as a challenge to do a good workout together.
  • This globe I’ve heard really good things about. It’s pricey, but they also have a cheaper model that doesn’t do quite as much. It would be a great educational gift.
  • I keep seeing these Osmo learning sets everywhere! This uses an ipad or fire tablet as the screen, but the kids use the included manipulatives to play the games and do the activities in front of it to learn.

Books

Don’t underestimate the power of books as great gifts! The Treehouse books are kid-approved recommendations, and my kids love these other types of books that include lots of pictures and facts. The “anatomy” books offer hand-drawn images so kids could easily duplicate these into their sketchbooks or nature journals as you learn about different topics. I know the “Welcome to the Museum” Books would be a hit with my kids as well, especially Lawson. It’s a refreshing change-up from the chapter books I require him to read for school now.

 

 

Games

Our family loves games! They pretty much play at least one game every day! I like these options to add to our collection.


Outdoor Toys

My kids love to dig and play in the sand and dirt! We had a sandbox at our old house that they loved, and they have lots of dirt here now. They need durable tools that they can use when the plastic sets from the beach just don’t cut it anymore. They also love to get crafty and build structures. Lawson has gotten a few of these kits, and they’re always a hit when he has his own real tools and supplies he can use!

 

Boxes & Subscriptions

KiwiCo – These are subscription, craft kits that kids receive every month so it’s like a gift that keeps on giving. They receive a cool box of things to assemble for their age level. You can do the subscriptions for as short or as long as you’d like.

LovEvery Play Kits – This is the same concept, but the play items in these kits are more age-specific and are sent when your little ones hit another age milestone. They are also specific to infants and toddlers up to 24 months.

Raddish Kids Cooking Kits – These are like the meal kits that many are raving about these days, except it’s geared for kids and teaching them how to cook in the process!

We Craft Box is just like the name says… It’s a box of supplies to make a special art project or craft together each month. So fun!

We Craft Box 3-month renewing subscription
I love making gift lists for my kids! Isn’t it so much fun to think about and plan for gifts you know they’ll love?! For Lawson’s birthday this past year, we told him we were just going to get him something we wanted to give him instead of getting what he asked for. We gave him his motorcycle, and he has LOVED it! He keeps telling us how much better it is than something he would’ve come up with himself. So, we might be doing that for Christmas with all of them this year as well with our “experience gift.”

What would YOU add to the list?

[Ep. 010] – Giving your Kids a Work Ethic

Listen to “My Purposeful Planning” on Spreaker.

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Show Notes –

In this week’s episode of My Purposeful Planning, Laney shares about Giving our Kids a Work Ethic. We talk about the importance of chores for kids, as well as some methods we can use and helpful tips for teaching chores to our children.

In This Episode:

  • In a world where entitlement and laziness are becoming more and more prevalent… it is up to us as parents to set the foundations for our kids and set them up for success. It will be up to them and God after they launch. But until then… we have to do our part.
  • For this episode I went to social media and asked for help on this one. I don’t ever want to pretend that I know everything about a particular topic. I usually just share what I do know and how the topic applies to my life. But for this one – I felt if I only shared my perspective on this… that I would be excluding a whole group of parents and that is those that have kids older than mine.
  • Teach them. (The what, the why, and the how)
  • Podcast: Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast
  • Craig Groeschel – “Lead with the why”
  • When we are introducing a new chore to our kids or any kind of “change” and we don’t tell them WHY it’s important, they are not going to jump on board with you.
  • Craig Groeschel – “People will work for a “what”, but they will give their lives for a “why”. The why is important.”
  • “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your Father and Mother” which is the first commandment with a promise – “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:1-3
  • Children obey your parents in everything for this pleases the Lord” Colossians 3:20
  • Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
  • Do all things without complaining or disputing, Philippians 2:14
  • “You obey, right away, all the way, with a good attitude, everyday.” (It’s easier to give grace to my children with this one when I think about my own obedience to God.)
  • “Business before pleasure” – which means that we do our chores and our work before we play.
  • Dianne Goulet says it this way, “The sooner you finish your have-to’s, the sooner you can do your want-to’s” She said she wanted to teach her kids delayed gratification to some extent but also that our “want-to’s” are MUCH more enjoyable without the have to’s hanging over our heads.”
  • “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”  (My kids have never missed a meal due to the fact that they simply didn’t wantt to do their chores. They really want to eat, so then they put aside whatever their issue is and do the work that’s being asked of them.)
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” This applies to grown ups as well. If we don’t work and earn a paycheck, we can’t buy food to feed our family. Its basically a principle that we’re instilling from an early age.
  • Notes from the Parenting Seminar
  • Blog Post: Family I.D.
  • Ask these questions in order to decide and write your values. “What values do I admire most?” “What makes me mad, frustrated, etc.?” “What value was violated when that happens?”
  • Teach them HOW: Tell them. Show them. Do it with them. Supervised Practice. Independent Practice.
  • Write the steps on a card, and tape it near the job site.
  • Our attitude towards work is important. Work is serving God, and little ones learn this with their first chores.
  • Model it.
  • This is helping to demonstrate your why to them.
  • One way that I do this is with our chore board. We have a chalkboard in the kitchen, and I will look around a write down everything I see that needs to be done – the things that feel urgent to me.
  • Training is hard work.
  • Never gripe about what you allow. Never complain about what you tolerate. – Craig Groeschel
  • So I said in my last episode about attitude that I can ignore sin in my children because discipline is hard work. It really really is, but it is SO necessary.
  • It takes TIME.
  • I share our old philosophy of parenting and the regrets we have from that.
  • You teach values. When those values are violated, there are consequences… sometimes natural consequences but sometimes consequences like time outs, loss of privileges, loss of tangibles, reparations, or spanking. Then there is affirmation and mentoring – You affirm them because of their identity and then affirm behavior “I love you because you’re my child.” Then mentoring where you can discuss with your children about the values that were violated and talk about ways they can learn to live out those values in a better way next time.
  • Punishment vs. Discipline
  • “Punishment decreases unwanted behavior. Discipline shapes character.” -Dr. Andy Yarbourough
  • Training is hard work, but it is so worth it.
  • I want to be the parent that says to other parents “It DOES get better”. And let me tell you – it does….if you do the hard work of training them well. It doesn’t just magically happen. You have to do the work. And not just consistency in dishing out punishments either….. that doesn’t work. You have to discipline them, teach them, and train them. And it DOES get better.
  • My children are still young, but I am already seeing fruit from them. They are not perfect, but they are growing and maturing, and I can already see that.
  • You can’t expect what you don’t inspect.
  • I have always heard this quote in relation to chore lists and schoolwork because I’m a homeschooling mama. This was one of my points for this episode to talk about that, but it was also mentioned in that parenting seminar… in relation to checking up on your kids and their phones, social media, their belonging ,etc.
  • Whatever you’re expecting from your children, you have to inspect it as well.
  • So if you’re expecting that they do something, you have to also inspect it. If you’re expecting that they have good character and exemplify kindness, you have to inspect their phones and social media, etc.
  • A Method for the Madness
  • This is the part where you have to have a system for working your plan. Your system can be as simple as writing a list of chores for them to complete after school each day. Your system could be a checklist that you print off every week or month that they complete. Remember though – you can’t just see that they checked the boxes – you actually have to inspect that they did the actual task listed. Your system can be a chart with velcro tasks and pictures. It can be a chart that has a clothespin with their name on it as they move down the list.
  • Whatever method you choose to use… Teach them what is required, Teach them WHY which can be attached to your family’s values, and Teach them the steps for HOW to do it. Model good attitude and initiative for working hard and doing the “have-tos” before the “want-tos”. Inspect what you expect. Take the time to train them. Implement consequences and positive discipline when values are violated. Affirm them in their identity and behaviors. Mentor them.
  • (The next few points come from the social media post where I asked other mamas to chime in.)
  • Chrissy Hoskin says, “Instill the mindset of “Leave it better than you found it.” If you choose to rush through it and not do it well, you get to do it again… for several days for extra practice…Teaching them to be part of the team…Teaching them excellence over being mediocre…Teaching them to be helpful and not lazy…Teaching them how to take care of a home to prepare them for caring for their own future homes. There are lots of life skills being built just by giving your kids chores.
  • Dianne Goulet says, “I tried to keep a very positive attitude and focus surrounding chores from an early age. We might sing as we worked, listen to our favorite music, or set the timer to see how much we could get done before it went off. We might treat ourselves with a favorite activity when we were done. Sometimes we’d just talk and laugh as we worked. I wanted to convey that although they were necessary tasks we may not enjoy in and of themselves, we can choose to do them with a good attitude and that makes time pass more quickly as well as making the the tasks more enjoyable. Teamwork makes un-preferred tasks more enjoyable.”
  • Rebecca Ritchey says, “I remind them that they are working first unto the Lord. We expect things to be done in order and in excellence. We teach them to do their best by reminding them that it is a core value of our family to do our best and be our best. We remind them that we are all apart of a whole. Apart of the team. We all pull our part.”
  • Rebecca also mentions when she checks up on them – she looks to see if it’s because of disobedience and an attitude or if it’s from just being busy and it getting forgotten. I like how she thinks about the why and the reason it’s not done first. Then she says something about giving the one grace rule. Then she ties their identity to it by saying “The Ritchey’s aren’t lazy”. So good!
  • Britney O’Neal says she sat her kids down and asked them what chore they would like to learn that they thought would be a big help to mommy. It empowered them to have some input on the whole idea, and she said it has resulted in her laundry loads being cut in half.
  • Most everyone who commented mentioned teamwork and working together – not just one person doing all the things.
  • And they all mentioned starting from a very early age doing simple tasks like picking up toys before nap and bedtime, putting laundry in the hamper basket, shaking out and smoothing socks and washcloths, then to fold washcloths and match socks.
  • By the time they are older, most of them said they are responsible for keeping their own spaces neat, cleaning up after themselves in common areas, helping to clean the bathroom they use, helping to clean common areas, and helping with dishes, vacuuming, mopping, and folding laundry.
  • As far as standards go – they mentioned teaching the appropriate steps one step at a time as well as making sure the expectations are clear. It’s tailored to each child’s age and individual ability. Some grace is given for how clothes are folded, and some kids are perfectionists that will surprise you when they fold even better than we do as parents. A child who is capable of doing a job well gets to do it again until its done to satisfaction or practice it over the next few days.”

Additional Links and Resources Mentioned:

   

Find Laney:

Instagram
Facebook
My Purposeful Planning Facebook Group
My Purposeful Planning Community on Patreon
Email: laney@mypurposefulplanning.com

Listen to the My Purposeful Planning Podcast –

Listen to “My Purposeful Planning” on Spreaker.

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My Top Three Favorite Black Friday Deals

Ready to see my favorite Black Friday Deals?! The best part about these deals is that you can get them from your couch, using your phone, and in your pajamas! No crowd-fighting for these online deals!

1. LovEveryBaby Play Gym or Baby Subscription Boxes 

$10 off Play Mat or Subscription Boxes Just for Using my Link
-Plus-
$20 off $100+ Purchases using code BLACKFRIDAY20

This means you can get a great deal on the Baby Play Gym, Prepay for a Subscription, or Gift 2 or more Play Kits! This is a great gift idea for any baby on your Christmas shopping list. We just ordered this play gym a while back for our baby that we are expecting soon. I love a good baby play gym, and this one exceeded my expectations! I had already read all up on it and fell in love with it before I ordered it, but when it came in – it was even better that I thought! It’s definitely one of my top-recommended baby products now!

2. Amazon Books: $5/20 Any Book Purchase 

This is one of my favorite promotions that Amazon does, and I take advantage of it pretty much every time it comes around! We use it for Home school books on our list or just books I have saved in my Amazon cart (which is always).

Use Code NOVBOOK18

Here are some of the books I have in my Amazon Cart right now… I wonder which one’s I’ll choose to order this time. 😉

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

The Better Mom Devotional: Shaping our Hearts as We Shape Our Homes by Ruth Schwenk

Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministrry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God by Gloria Furman

So Many Littles, So Little Time: A Worn our Mom’s Guide to Mothering Little Ones by Amy Roberts

Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing a Large Family by Kim Brenneman

From Grouchy to Great: Finding Joy in the Journey of Motherhood by Ruth Schwenk

Together: Growing Appetities for God by Carrie Ward

Grace-Based Discipline: How to Be at Your Best When Your Kids Are at their Worst by Karis Kimmel Murray

3. Crystal Paine’s Courses

I’ve been following Crystal’s blog for YEARS! We actually have the same personality type so all of her stuff really resonates with me. I also know that all of her courses are amazing, because I’ve taken some of them myself. She’s very personable and helpful. I emailed her after signing up for one of her courses and ask her a question on how to practically apply something, and she emailed me back with some really helpful advice! She’s the real deal!

With the code BF2018, you can get any of her courses for 50% off! 

Happy Shopping!

How to Put Together a Kids’ Capsule Wardrobe

One term you might have heard in the Minimalist World is the term “Capsule Wardrobe”. You can read some of my posts on Capsule Wardrobes here and here. Today, I’m going to be showing you how to create a Capsule Wardrobe for your kids. Even though it’s not cold yet here, I’m getting prepared for our next season’s wardrobe. I’m doing it now because this was the week of my favorite kids’ consignment sale that only happens twice a year… once in the Spring and once in the Fall. I went through all my kids’ clothing storage, and I’m so glad I did! I actually decided NOT to go to the consignment sale this year, for several reasons, but mostly because I felt like we had enough of a base set of clothes for each child – that it just wasn’t necessary to go.

Now, I’m not super strict about anything when it comes to these capsules for my kids, but you can do this however you want to. Our family relies heavily on hand-me-downs for our kids’ wardrobes, so we work with what we have as best we can. Sure, I’d love to have a great mix-n-match capsule for them and work it like I do my own, but for the most part – my kids’ capsules are made up of simple tops and bottoms or two-piece matching outfits for my girl, and that works for us.

I took a screen shot of this Insta-story Highlight from Kelsey Van Kirk to give me an idea of where to start and about how many of each piece we would need. Of course, she has only girls so ours will differ a little bit. For instance, obviously my boys don’t need dresses, but they are pretty rough on pants sometimes so having more of those for them makes more sense for us. Also, she lives a bit more North than we do so their weather climate might differ a bit from ours as well.

For us in Mississippi, while we are fully embracing the Fall colors and current sales of the Fall/Winter clothing available to us now, it will still be a while before we actually need to fully transition to long pants, long sleeves, and jackets. My kids would burn up if I were to store away their shorts and short-sleeves now. So… with that being said, both sets need to be pretty accessible for us now shorts for now, and long-pants within reach – just in case we have a cold snap. This makes our closet look pretty full which, honestly, isn’t my favorite thing. I had to dig out some more hangers to make it work for us, and there was absolutely no way I was going to fit short and long pants of all three kids in one dresser. I’ll show you our storage and organization for it all in just a bit.

So, let’s go ahead and start from the beginning of the process, and I’ll take you all the way through to the end to show you how we store it all in our family.

Step One: Assess what you already own and what you can continue to use for the upcoming season.
For us, this part of the process included bringing in ALL the kids’ clothes storage boxes and sorting through them to see what we could add in.

When I did this, I found that I had actually missed a box of Spring/Summer hand-me-down clothes that my four year old could’ve been wearing all this time, just because my boxes weren’t properly labelled. So there was something I needed to immediately fix to be better for the next time I go through this process. The second thing I wanted to improve on is to purchase actual storage boxes. I used what I had… diaper boxes and Amazon boxes… to store clothes, and that’s just not the most ideal form of storage. As, it turns out…. we have PLENTY of clothes, and I have very few things that I will need to purchase for this next season for my kids. What a blessing!

A. Bring in boxes from storage. I store hand-me-downs that are given to us for all three children – even in sizes that are too big for them, so it’s really nice to have these to pull out when we need them. We are so thankful for these! 
B. Make labels for different categories as you go. Try to separate them by gender, size, and season if they aren’t already like this. (I even made a category for things to consign that I knew we would no longer need.)

This is the part where you can be a little choosy. It doesn’t matter if it was a gift or it’s just worn out – you get to decide what things you keep and what you need to purge. I also posted two screenshots from Kelsey Van Kirk about this topic, which I agree with 100%. We are super blessed and grateful when we receive these gifts and hand-me-downs, but I don’t feel obligated to keep every single thing – just because it was given to us. I am the manager of my household and ultimately the one who does the laundry each week, so I have to sometimes purge so that it doesn’t become too much for me. It’s an absolutely necessary step for me.
 

C.  If it’s something you think will fit and work for your child(ren) for this next season, add it straight to the hamper to wash. 
D. Once everything is sorted into categories, you can probably stack your newly labelled boxes back up. I wouldn’t put them away just yet. You might have to add something to them if it happens to not fit properly or you find something you missed in the whole process.
E. Wash and properly launder all of the clothes you added to the hamper. Sort them by size and gender again.
F. Have your children try on anything you are unsure about.

Step Two: Working on one child’s wardrobe at a time, take all of the items in a category (For example… bottoms) and lay them all out together so you can see what you have. Use the guide to see if you have enough of the particular item. Think about your lifestyle. Do you need more active-wear for your kids or more dress pants? Go ahead and make a note of what type of things you think you might still need to purchase.

Linkin’s Bottoms (Long Pants)
Lawson’s Bottoms (Long Pants)
Layten’s Bottoms (Long Pants)

Step Three: Do this for every category in the guide. Then, repeat this for each child as well.

Linkin’s Pajamas
Linkin’s Tops (Long-Sleeve)
Linkin’s Jackets
Lawson’s Button Down Shirts (Long Sleeve)
Lawson’s Tops (Long-Sleeve)
Lawson’s Jackets

Step Four: Create mix-n-match outfits like a traditional capsule, or at least make sure everything has something that will match with it. Do you have a pair of navy blue athletic joggers with a lime green stripe down the side? Make sure you have an appropriate top to match with it. Do you need to purchase something to match and make them work, or would it be easier to choose a more neutral-colored pair of joggers that would work better with your other items? These are the kinds of things you should think about when creating a wardrobe. The last thing you want is items that just take up unnecessary space – or worse – that your children try to wear mismatched and embarrass themselves and you. 😉 Kidding, of course, but it’s best to eliminate those types of struggles before they occur. Am I right?

I think with infants, toddlers, girls, and also boutique-style outfits… you might find that you have “sets” or “outfits” that easily go together instead of mix and match items for a traditional capsule. You can see an example of this with Layten’s wardrobe outfits. Most of them are matching sets already, but she also has a few that can mix and match as well… you’ll see that I added multiple options for bottoms that could match some of the tops she has.

Step Five: Take your list of items you still need for all of your children to fill in those gaps, and head out shopping… or shop online! This is the perfect opportunity for you to shop a great kids’ consignment sale, but having that list in hand of what you actually need before you go is going to help you out so much and save you some unnecessary stress.

This may seem like a long list, but all of these things I’ve listed are not “priority” or “must-haves”, but instead they are mostly “would like to haves” so we’ll just add them in as I find them on sale or as it fits in our budget. It’s all about making it work for you. Our base wardrobe is great already – they all have several pairs of pants and tops and even a few jackets to get them started… so I think we’re pretty good with what we have!

Step Six: Once you’ve purchased everything you need, and you’ve filled all of the gaps in your kids’ wardrobes, it’s time to figure out the best way to store everything. If you’ve gone by the guide of suggested amounts, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the appropriate storage for everything, but having kids who share a closet or dresser could present a small challenge… although, it’s nothing that can’t be figured out.

Closet and Shoe Cubby Shelf for Three Kids
Layten’s Drawer with Pajamas and Shorts
Lawson’s Drawer with Socks, Underwear, Undershirts, and Pajama Pants
Linkin’s Drawer with Socks, Underwear, and Pajama Sets
Both Boys’ Drawer for Shorts
  • I like to hang up all jackets, dresses, and tops.
  • We store pants, pajamas, socks, and underwear in dresser drawers. We have one dresser in our kids’ shared bedroom with 4 drawers, and it works perfectly for us.
  • Exception: If there’s a pair of pants that specifically matches a top we have, I like to drape those over the hanger that holds the top so they are stored together. This is the case with a lot of baby/toddler clothes as well as matchy boutique-type outfits that come as sets.
  • We have a cubby shelf in the closet for shoes.
  • And if we’re being honest, I should also admit that we also store several pairs of shoes in the car, unintentionally of course, and my little girl LOVES to try on everyone’s shoes, wear them for a while, and then leave them in various places all over the house – so there’s that.
  • Excess Storage: There was no way that I was going to be able to store everyone’s shorts, long pants, pajamas, socks, and underwear all in one dresser. Our three kids currently share a bedroom, a closet, and a dresser. I’m not interested in adding any more furniture either, so I was determined to make it work. I don’t love the idea of having under-the-bed storage, but I did decide to use these Thirty-one bins to store long pants for now. They’re easily accessible if we need them for church or a sudden cold snap, but I’m not ready to move them to the drawers just yet. As soon as our warm days are mostly over, I’ll transition the shorts and short-sleeves to storage, but for now, I think this will work really well for us.A few things to note:
  • Sometimes it’s hard to know what size your kid is going to be in for the next season. I think this is really just trial and error, and it does seem to get a little easier as they get older. Of course, I’m not sure that we’ve hit those ages with massive growth spurts yet, but so far – it’s always worked out that we have a storage of hand-me-downs for the next size up, which as I’ve mentioned we’ve been super blessed to have. It’s a little more difficult with infants and toddlers, as they seem to change sizes more quickly. Just do your best to make a good guess, and fill in with items you need as necessary.
  • It’s much easier if you prepare ahead of time and have a storage of “the next size up” for each of your children. This can be done by shopping End-of-the-Season sales and of course saving those hand-me-downs. My mom loves to shop sales like this, and she’s usually pretty great about buying the next size up for us to store and wear later when we need it. It’s great!
  • Brands aren’t everything, but sometimes they do really make a difference. There are a few things I try to stay away from… zippered pajamas from some brands tend to change shape when they are washed and dried. I’m sure it was something I was doing wrong with my laundry process, but I don’t have time to take separate steps for separate items like that at this point in my life. I noticed this most in infant sleepers, so I prefer the buttons or top and bottom sets. I also prefer Carter’s brand over anything else we’ve tried for pajama sets because they keep their size and don’t draw up in the wash. It’s super confusing when something says 2T and should fit my petite one year old but doesn’t at all because it’s drawn up in the wash. We also prefer cotton pajamas mostly. Pajamas can also look dingy and old if they are flannel or fleece materials when they are passed down, but of course that’s my personal opinion. It’s just something to think about if you rely on good sales and hand-me-down items like we do.
  • Hand me downs are great for clothes, but be prepared to invest some money into good shoes. These get worn out much more easily, and they aren’t always nice enough to pass on to others.Do you plan ahead for your kids’ seasonal wardrobes? I’d love to know how you plan, shop, and organize the kids’ wardrobes in your family!

     

Our Story of How We Decided to Homeschool

One of the areas that our family has chosen to be intentional and purposeful is our decision to homeschool our children. It’s amazing how God puts these desires in our hearts… it’s not something I had ever really considered before, but here’s a little back story for you on how we got to where we are now with our homeschooling decision.

I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl, and “playing school” was my favorite thing. I even had my own podium, large dry erase board, and I LOVED school supplies (still do!). I bought grade books, teaching resources, and taught my Beanie Babies. Teaching was always what I wanted to do, but as I majored in Music Education, then Elementary Education, I quickly realized that working in a school setting with all of the mandated tests and requirements was not what I wanted to do. I was working through college as a Preschool Teacher, which I loved! It’s really where all the fun is – where children are allowed (and encouraged) to learn through play, the way it really should be. Don’t get me wrong – there was still plenty of time for planned, teacher-directed learning as well – in the form of stories, art activities, and related science and sensory experiences. Writing lesson plans and planning experiences was a fun process for me, and implementing them with my students was amazing too! At this point, I decided to switch gears and become a full-time preschool teacher while pursuing Early Childhood Education online.

As I mentioned earlier, homeschooling was not really something I’d ever considered before, but as I transitioned out of the preschool classroom setting and into the home and caregiver setting as a full-time nanny, I couldn’t lose those things that I loved so much about teaching. I began to teach the twins that I cared for, and really in a sense, we were homeschooling. As I planned lessons for them, researched ideas, discovered Pinterest, and found homeschooling blogs, I fell in love the idea of homeschooling. I knew that one day I would homeschool our own children.

I got pregnant with Lawson and had an in-home daycare for a while. Then, when I got pregnant with Linkin, we decided to close the home daycare and begin my journey as a full-time stay at home mama. It was a big leap of faith because it meant that I was walking away from bringing in any income at all on my part, but we’ve been blessed in ways that money could never compare by the decision of being home with my children. Yes, some days are hard. Yes, some times I lose my mama cool and need a little time-out. But for the most part, it has really been the best decision, and I can’t imagine doing anything else – at least not anything that will take me away from being home with my children.

Homeschooling has just been one of those things that has allowed me to both be home with my children and teach them too. It also allows me to do many of the things that I really love and enjoy – planning, organizing, researching, teaching, and administrating all in one! God has just stirred up a desire in us to teach them and give them a great, biblical foundation here at home – with as few outside influences as possible. I’m not saying that we will homeschool forever because we really don’t know what God has in store for us, but for now, it’s the best decision we could’ve ever made. Our children are close, and they play well together. I love that I don’t ever have to ask my children how their day went because I already know the answer. I love that we are free to do this as we choose to. I don’t have to have a degree to teach my children. I know them better than anyone else on the planet. I’ve studied their little personalities and learning styles to create what I think is the best education for each of them, individually. Of course, this will ebb and flow as they grow and we all change, but it’s a really beautiful thing that we get to do here. We absolutely love homeschooling!  

Whatever you do, Let’s make a Plan to be more Purposeful! 

New Series… “Not” Back to School

This is the time in our area where most of the kids are going “Back to School”. We are a homeschooling family so we’re not going Back to School, per se, but we do like to celebrate the beginning of a new school year for us at home as well.

I thought it would be fun to share some glimpses into our homeschool this month in a series I’m calling “Not Back to School”
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Some of the Posts you’ll see in this Series…

  • Our Story of How We Decided to Homeschool
  • Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices
  • Our Homeschool Organization & Space
  • Our Homeschool Yearly Schedule & Terms
  • Our Homeschool Daily Schedule & Routines
  • My Homeschool Planner (This one might be my favorite to share!)
  • Our Favorite Homeschool Tools and Resources
  • Our Homeschool Record-Keeping and Portfolios

    What else would you like to see? I think this will be a really fun series because homeschooling has become one of my favorite things!

    Whatever you do, Let’s make a Plan to be more Purposeful!